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Cleft Lip repair process
Treatment of a cleft lip requires several surgeries, conducted over a period of eighteen years.
Preparing for the first Cleft Lip surgery
- Age 3 months:
The first surgery is usually done when the child is about three months old. During the initial surgery, the child’s lip tissues are stitched together. These stitches are tiny in size to reduce the chances of scars. They are usually absorbable and need not be removed.
- Age 6-12 months:
The palate repair surgery is performed when the child is six to twelve months old. During the cleft palate repair surgery, the soft palate is covered with the tissue from the roof of the mouth. Multiple cleft palate repair surgeries may be required to cover the palate. The palate will change as the child grows. The cleft palate repair surgery will prevent new speech defects in the child.
- Age 8 years:
When the child is about eight years old, a bone graft may be required to support the gums and teeth.
- Sometimes, the child may need speech repair surgeries.
- Surgeries to enhance breathing and to realign and stabilize the jaw may also be required.
Cosmetic surgeries may be conducted to repair scars when the child reaches adolescence. Rhinoplasty, a surgery to repair the tip of the nose may also be performed.
- The child undergoes a complete physical examination right after birth.
- A feeding therapist will help to feed the child in the best way as the child must be healthy and gain some weight before the surgery.
- The child’s blood is tested and the medical history is recorded.
- The doctor should be informed about any medication that the child is taking. This includes vitamins and supplements.
- Certain medication that the child is taking may be stopped some days before the surgery.
- The child cannot undergo surgery if the child is sick.
5 to 7 days
- The child will take about four weeks to thoroughly recover from the surgery.
- The surgery wound should not be stretched for three to four weeks
- Redness and swelling may lessen after four to six weeks.
- Sometimes revision surgery and nasal symmetry reconstruction surgeries may be required.
- Excessive scarring that cause itching and burning sensations
- Lip contraction
- Disproportionate facial bone growth
- The surgery site should be cleaned with a special cleaning fluid and ointment should be applied.
- The wound should not be scratched.
- Direct sunlight should be avoided.
- The child should be on a liquid died until the wound heals. Breast feeding is encouraged.
- Sometimes surgeons use elbow immobilizers to avoid accidental injury to the surgery site.
Learn more about Cleft Lip Repair Surgery